Open Talk @DSIM
An Interview with Founder of Urbanrestro.com, Shriti Chhajed
Urbanrestro is India’s first online banquet booking platform and a one-stop portal in the FnB segment- for both corporate and individuals people catering to all hospitality industry needs from restaurant reservation to discounts and deals, party booking & event management , planning and conceptualizing unique experiences &workshops at restaurants and hotels. Urbanrestro.com was founded by Shriti Chhejed in Mumbai in 2012.
Q1. Hi Shriti, it’s a pleasure to conduct this interview with you. Thank you for taking out time. It would be interesting to know about you. Kindly let our readers know more about you.
Ans .Well, thanks to DSIM for inviting me and giving me the opportunity. I am born and brought up in a business family and always wanted to start my own venture. After completing my engineering, I worked for 2.5 years at Tech Mahindra into coding and then did my MBA from SP Jain. Finished my MBA and then worked with HCL technologies. Then I worked with HCL in Marketing Department. I have always been the active member in all organizing committees of my college and company and love sports for my past time.
Q2.I was browsing through your website; I found Urbanrestro a Party Venue and Banquet Booking platform. The idea to save money, save time and plan the perfect event is quite interesting. Tell us, how did you come across this wonderful idea?
Ans. We started with more of our focus on restaurants reservation, however over a period of time as a feedback from most venues, we realized the bigger pain point is the group bookings and that’s their major revenue source as well. We shifted our focus to completely venue booking first and then added on all ancillary services like theme, artists, and caterers to give user a one stop solution. Our idea always molded as per the requirements of our vendors and customers and so did our product.
Q3. What is your biggest challenge in operating this business? How did you overcome or meet that challenge?
Ans.The biggest challenge in operating this business was the whole process of venue booking was a very time consuming and multiple people were involved in the decision. We resolved this by launching a CRM system which automates lot of this process via auto suggestions, emails and SMS.
Q4.Shriti, Urbanrestro’s unique business model has been successful in India? How does digital Marketing contribute in it?
Ans Digital Marketing has been the 95% contributor to our business. Our major traffic comes through search as we have put in lot of efforts on SEO. Social media especially Faebook and Twitter work for just creating awareness and spread the word.
Google Ads work as a good source to boost the traffic in initial days of we launching the city and adding on that extra power to boost the traffic.
Q5. Where do you see the future of digital marketing in the industry?
Ans. As we are seeing that gradually all major businesses are moving online and the ways to get customers online and land on your website is primarily online. I see digital marketing to be the major ROI part in marketing budgets and offline marketing as the branding part
Q6. Indian Business has gone through a complete turnaround and using digital marketing for its advancement. What’s your view on it? How has this turnaround impacted your business?
Ans.Our business is very much part of this turn around. We are also trying to let people book their venues and events online which till now they have been doing offline.However given this turnaround was already in place since last some years, we did not have to work much to get people comfortable in making payments online. No customer till date asked us why should I pay online. People were very comfortable doing that.
Q7. Can you tell us something about Urbanrestro journey? What is your vision of what Urbanrestro should look like in the future?
Ans. Our vision is to make Urbanrestro as the Online Event Planning and Booking Website. Our journey till now:Launched our website with 20 restaurants in Mumbai on 21 Dec 2012, we have come a long way from there. Today we are in 10 cities with 1500 + venues and 1000+ visitors daily. Knowing that the venue booking is a long process, over the last 2 years, we have been doing regular tech developments to automate the booking process regularly. We have always done it offline, understood the problems and then built the product keeping in mind the scalability.
Q8 .Customer trust is a very important factor in this business. How do you leverage tech to ensure this?
AnsReviews are one mode of building in customer’s trust.
Q9. Shriti, what quick advice would you give to startup company of an e-commerce business?
Ans. See that the problem you are trying to solve with your business is where your customer’s preference is convenience/ expertise and not lesser price. The businesses giving convenience/ expertise and where the customer wants it are the ones which will survive in long run
Thank you so much for your time Shriti. It was fantastic talking to you. Best wishes from Team DSIM for your company. Have a good day ahead.
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